Bill Barnes Trio
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Bill Barnes Trio


Band Jazz Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


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1985: One For the Money, Dance Single, singing group Clique, Moleco Records, Great Britain- All Guitar tracks. (#12, British Billboard Dance Chart.)
2000: Zenzibility, LP, Bill Barnes Trio, Blue Cliff Records.
2004: Live! At the Jazz Factory, LP, Bill Barnes Trio, Blue Cliff Records.
2006: Winds of Bodhgaya, LP, Bill Barne Trio, Blue Cliff Records. Sample tracks available at CD Baby, and website.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jazz Guitarist Bill Barnes

Offering a unique take on the traditional acoustic-electric jazz guitar ensemble, the Bill Barnes Trio has been described as innovative, exciting, smooth, funky and even a bit edgy at times.

Bill’s unique style is a product of his diverse background. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he grew up in North Carolina, where he began his professional career in the late sixties as a backup musician in pickup bands. During this period he played with R and B recording artists such as Eddy Floyd, Spider Turner, Gary US Bonds, Rufus Thomas and others. On the concert stage he has opened for a diverse lineup of acts, including Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Tommy James, Blue Oyster Cult, Michael Henderson, Betty Wright, Tommy Roe, The Marvelettes, Sam the Sham, Len Barry, The Turtles and KC and the Sunshine Band. At the age of 19 he toured with Atco Records star Arthur Conley (Sweet Soul Music,) on a series of concert dates to promote the release of Conley’s single, Funky Street.

His love of jazz had him leading experimental groups in the late sixties and seventies, while continuing to play in road bands backing up artists such as The Drifters, Platters, Coasters and perennial Carolina favorites like singer Scotty Todd and The Showmen of Norfolk Virginia.

Working out of Atlanta in the mid seventies, he toured the country with the progressive rock band Sweetfire, working the Underground as a house musician at Scarlett O’Hara’s, as the lead guitarist for Salsoul recording artists Ripple and the jazz-funk horn band ATL. He wound up living in New York City in ’79, where for the next 13 years he was an active studio musician, doing sessions for Easy Street Records, Moleco Records and Columbia.

However, heading his own jazz guitar trio had been his long-term goal and, while paying dues with other ensembles, he was forming his concept for a different approach to the traditional trio, one which would meld the edginess of fusion and hard bop with the passion and sensitivity of blues and Latin, seasoned with elements of traditional Japanese and Indian music.

He is mostly self-taught; drawing on his influences, which include jazz giants Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, John McLaughlin, George Barnes, Bucky Pizzarelli and Lenny Breau, although he acknowledges a tremendous debt of gratitude to New York bebop guitar master Mark Marino, LA guitarist Cliff Kuplen, legendary pianist Lynne Arriale and Bellarman University’s Jazz Guitar Professor Jeff Sherman, all with whom he had studied privately.

Thematically, much of his music is influenced by Eastern philosophy. He has long been a devotee of Zen and Taoism, as well as a student of martial arts. In 1996 he earned a first degree black belt and is registered with the American Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo Association.

He formed his first trio in 2000, with drummer Larry Abrams and bassist Ed LaBarbara, recording his first album, Zensibility, which was featured on Public Radio WFPK's Album Spotlight. Later on he recorded his Live! At the Jazz Factory CD with drummer Bob Falk and bassist Rob Collier.

But it is with Winds of Bodhgaya that the theme of ascension and spiritual evolution is finally realized, woven into a musical tapestry which incorporates the simplicity, power and acoustic integrity of the traditional jazz guitar trio with a unique amalgam of over three decades of musical experience, recorded in real-time without the usual multi-track overdubbing or heavy artificial sweetening.

Bill currently resides in New Hampshire. He is managed by Powers Management Group and can be contacted at